In this Callaway Epic Flash Driver review, I will go into what made this driver so advanced in 2019 and why it still rates as an elite performer in the driver market today.
For their entire 30+ year history, Callaway has been a pioneer in creating innovative design features that have improved the performance of golfers at all levels. They spend tens of millions of dollars every year on research and design and can now boast of having a patent portfolio of more than 1,200 U.S. patents!
Clearly, Callaway is — and has been from the start — committed to developing groundbreaking technology that they believe enables their equipment to outperform their competitors.
There are many well-known examples of this, such as when they revolutionized the entire driver industry by introducing the first metal wood back in the early 1990s. Other companies were still using persimmon wood in their drivers.
Callaway broke new ground and went in a different direction with their release of the initial Big Bertha metal wood. Every other company eventually followed Callaway’s lead. And there are many other prominent examples we could cite of “Callaway as a technological leader.”
Callaway Epic Flash Driver
- Solid sound and feel
- Good forgiveness
- Great distance and accuracy
- Really easy to hit
Callaway Epic Flash Driver: Doubling-Down on the Power of Technology
But let’s fast forward to 2019, to the subject of our article today. When Callaway was designing their new Epic Flash driver, they pushed the boundaries of golf technology even further than had been done for any other driver to that point.
The Epic Flash is truly a product that leveraged technology to a far greater extent than any other golf club had at that time (I’ll talk about how they did that shortly).
Did it work? Did the investment in “improvement through technology” pay off? Well, the results speak for themselves. To this day, the Callaway Epic Flash driver is one of the most sold drivers ever.
So what was so compelling about its design that caused such worldwide appeal?
That’s my focus in this article. This Callaway Epic Flash Driver review will go into what made this driver so advanced and why it’s still an elite performer in the driver market today.
Callaway Epic Flash Driver: A Big Bet on High-Tech
Until the Epic Flash was introduced, the actual face of driver heads had always been designed by human minds and human hands. But Callaway made a big bet on the power of computers to come up with a better, more optimized face technology. And they put a lot of money into that strategy.
They invested in a $5 million supercomputer to employ state-of-the-art technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to approach driver face design in an entirely new way.
As a part of the process, they programmed the computer with their driver data going back almost two decades, along with all the USGA rules and guidelines on “springiness” and ball speed.
These advanced computer systems then enabled them to model thousands of potential face designs in the search for the one that would maximize performance.
The result? The computer came up with the absolute hottest driver face it thought possible that would help golfers get both more ball speed and distance.
And, with that, Flash Face was born.
Callaway Epic Features and Benefits
So once again, as they had done about 30 years ago when they popularized the metal wood (and through many other examples since), Callaway broke the industry mold and went in a totally new technological direction.
They called this new computer-optimized face design “Flash Face,” and it obviously was the inspiration for the name of the then soon-to-be-released driver, the Callaway Epic Flash.
So, what exactly is Flash Face and how does it help users of the Epic Flash driver to hit the ball farther?
1. Flash Face breaks new ground
Well, the magic of the Flash Face design isn’t actually something that you can see…unless you open up the driver head and look at the interior surface of the club face. During the design process, the computer had revealed that, to produce maximum performance on both center-face hits as well as on mis-hits, the internal structure of the face needed to have variable thickness levels in different areas of the face.
So, if you were to look at the inside surface of the Epic Flash face, you’d see a totally unique pattern of subtle ripples flowing from the heel to the toe. The pattern of these ripples may seem random, but their specific thickness levels and placement were calculated and pre-determined by the computer.
As a whole, these ripples (in concert with Callaway’s famous Jailbreak technology, which I’ll discuss in a moment) provide optimal face support to create the highest possible ball speeds regardless of where on the face the golfer strikes the ball.
This provides not just distance but forgiveness, too
The concept of forgiveness in a driver is a really important one for amateur golfers. All amateurs (but particularly high-handicap amateurs) frequently miss the sweet spot when they strike the ball. These mis-hits result in a loss of ball speed off the face, which obviously can significantly reduce distance.
But Callaway’s unique Flash Face design ensures that the penalty for a mis-hit shot isn’t quite so severe. The variable thickness levels on the inside of the face enable it to maintain ball speeds across a larger portion of the club face, meaning that even if you make contact on the toe or on the heel, the Epic Flash driver “forgives” those mis-hits and rewards you with a good shot result.
2. Jailbreak Technology Returns
One of the more well-known innovations that Callaway has ever introduced is their famous Jailbreak technology. It was present in the driver models that immediately preceded the Epic Flash (the original Great Big Bertha Epic and the Rogue), and due to its overwhelming effectiveness and popularity, Callaway carried it forward into the design of the Epic Flash. By the way, like Flash Face, the Jailbreak feature itself had been developed using extensive computer analysis.
For those unfamiliar with the Jailbreak feature, it refers to a pair of two vertical, titanium rods that sit just behind the face of the driver head, in effect connecting the crown of the driver to its sole.
How Jailbreak increases ball speed
The impetus behind Jailbreak was the realization that the crown and the sole of your driver actually flex at impact. When that occurs, there’s a loss of energy to the face and the golf ball. Callaway was the first to identify this dynamic so they created Jailbreak as a means of stabilizing the crown and sole. The titanium posts keep the sole and crown from bulging as much at impact because they’re now connected.
The net result is a much better energy transfer into the face. This means more ball speed and more distance.
You can see now why Callaway claims that the combination of this Jailbreak technology, along with their new Flash Face technology, makes the Epic Flash one of the longest, and most forgiving, drivers on the market.
3. Adjustability is Back
For many, the ability to make minor adjustments to the club’s weighting, as a way to modify its performance, is an important feature to have in a driver. For those golfers,
you’ll be pleased to learn that Callaway has brought back adjustability in the Epic Flash.
You may recall that it was present in the original Epic driver, but Callaway elected NOT to incorporate it into the subsequent Rogue driver. But it has returned on the Epic Flash.
The concept is the same as the previous version, but its design and weight is a bit different on the Epic Flash. It now consists of a simpler, easier to use slider mechanism on the sole of the head that contains a 16-gram movable weight.
If you want to minimize a slice, for example, you would simply slide the weight toward the heel of the club (i.e., toward the word “draw” at the bottom of the slider), and the club would immediately become more draw-biased.
Loft Adjustments, too
Adjustability is enabled in another way as well on the Epic Flash. The “Opti-Fit” adapter on the hosel allows you to modify the club’s loft to produce the type of trajectory you’d like to see.
The Opti-Fit Adapter lets you reduce the loft by 1°, or to add loft by either 1° or 2° (in other words, a range of -1° to +2°).
4. A Lighter Carbon Crown
The final piece to the puzzle of how Callaway increased ball speed with the Epic Flash, and therefore distance, was a brand new, lighter-weight crown. This new crown uses a lighter carbon fiber – called T2C Triaxial Carbon — which is 9.7g lighter than the previous one.
Why is this important? By making the crown lighter, the designers gained a little more discretionary weight that they then re-positioned in other parts of the head. By doing that, they were able to lower the center-of-gravity, benefitting users with a higher trajectory.
5. Looks / Sound / Feel
The shape of the Epic Flash is basically traditional. While the original GBB Epic was a bit rounded, and the follow-on Rogue was a bit “triangular,” the Epic Flash fits somewhere in between, appearing to be almost a compromise in both size and depth between its two predecessors.
I give Callaway high marks for the external appearance of the face itself. They’ve included an interesting pattern of laser-etched lines on the face that not only have a stylish look, but they also frame the ball nicely and serve as an effective alignment aid.
From the perspective of sound, I’d place the volume of impact at about the middle of the sound spectrum. It’s not too muted, as some composite head drivers are, and it’s not too loud. It’s very “satisfying” and sounds explosive, giving you feedback that lets you know when you’ve hit the ball solidly.
Specifications: Callaway Epic Flash Driver
|Callaway Epic Flash Driver Specifications|
|Model||Loft||Avail.||Length||Lie||CC (Vol.)||Swing Weight|
|Callaway Epic Flash Stock Shaft Options|
|Project X EvenFlow Green 40||L||46g||High||High|
|Project X EvenFlow Green 50||L||59g||Mid-High||Mid-High|
|Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60||R||59g||Low-Mid||Low-Mid|
|Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 70||S||67g||Low||Low|
|Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 60||R||65g||Low-Mid||Mid|
Need Less Spin? Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero
In addition to the standard Epic Flash, Callaway also introduced a lower-spinning version called the Epic Flash Sub Zero. Those who follow Callaway will remember that some previous driver releases also had a Sub Zero counterpart as an alternative option.
The primary way that Callaway reduces the spin on the Sub Zero is to re-locate the center-of-gravity (CG). In the standard Epic Flash, the CG is lower and more toward the rear. In the Sub Zero, the CG is moved forward.
The fundamentals of CG placement are fairly straightforward. Forward CG positions produce higher ball speeds, a lower launch, and less spin. Rear CG positions produce higher ball flights, more spin, and increased forgiveness.
That explains why lower handicappers often seek out the Sub Zero version, while mid-to-high handicappers are usually more attracted to the standard version.
Their design goals with each were similar – an emphasis on making a state-of-the-art driver that was both very long and very forgiving – but their intention was to offer improvements and better performance with each new release.
In keeping with that goal, the Epic Flash took the best features of those predecessors and added new ones which resulted in better overall performance.
So, while retaining prior innovative features like Jailbreak, Epic Flash upped the ante by also incorporating Flash Face, a brand new technology that leveraged the power of the computer to revolutionize the design of the driver face.
With Flash Face, now working together with Jailbreak to maximize ball speed and forgiveness, Callaway met its goal of providing continuous improvement in each successive driver release.
The Epic Flash driver was a strong step forward for Callaway. Faster ball speeds, better forgiveness across a wider area of the face, and better adjustability. If you’re a mid-to-high handicap golfer and are interested in learning more about this excellent driver, you can click here to read more.
Callaway Epic Flash Driver
- Solid sound and feel
- Good forgiveness
- Great distance and accuracy
- Really easy to hit